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Frontiers in Biogengineering and Biotechnology


The continued emergence of nanoscale materials for nanoparticle-based therapy, sensing and imaging, as well as their more general adoption in a broad range of industrial applications, has placed increasing demands on the ability to assess their interactions and impacts at a cellular and subcellular level, both in terms of potentially beneficial and detrimental effects. Notably, however, many such materials have been shown to interfere with conventional in vitro cellular assays that record only a single colorimetric endpoint, challenging the ability to rapidly screen cytological responses. As an alternative, Raman microspectroscopy can spatially profile the biochemical content of cells, and any changes to it as a result of exogenous agents, such as toxicants or therapeutic agents, in a label free manner. In the confocal mode, analysis can be performed at a subcellular level. The technique has been employed to confirm the cellular uptake and subcellular localization of polystyrene nanoparticles (PSNPs), graphene and molybdenum disulfide micro/nano plates (MoS2), based on their respective characteristic spectroscopic signatures. In the case of PSNPs it was further employed to identify their local subcellular environment in endosomes, lysosomes and endoplasmic reticulum, while for MoS2 particles, it was employed to monitor subcellular degradation as a function of time. For amine functionalized PSNPs, the potential of Raman microspectroscopy to quantitatively characterize the dose and time dependent toxic responses has been explored, in a number of cell lines. Comparing the responses to those of poly (amidoamine) nanoscale polymeric dendrimers, differentiation of apoptotic and necrotic pathways based on the cellular spectroscopic responses was demonstrated. Drawing in particular from the experience of the authors, this paper details the progress to date in the development of applications of Raman microspectroscopy for in vitro, label free analysis of the uptake, fate and impacts of nanoparticle based materials, in vitro, and the prospects for the development of a routine, label free high content spectroscopic analysis technique



Irish HEA, Science Foundation Ireland

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.